NAACP Head Backs Off Criticism Of Handling of Racial Attack

GREENSBORO, N.C.

The head of the state chapter of the NAACP says
he regrets criticizing Guilford College for its response to a campus
racial attack.

“Maybe I was a little hasty in trying to portray the manner in
which I thought he should act,” Melvin “Skip” Alston said of Dr. Donald
W. McNemar, president of the college.

Last month, Alston accused McNemar of having a “laid-back attitude”
toward the February 11 attack on student senate president Molly Martin.
He said that he would ask the State Bureau of Investigation and state
Attorney General’s Office to investigate the attack if an arrest was
not made within two weeks. Alston has since backed off his ultimatum to
call in state officials after learning that four Greensboro detectives
are investigating the incident.

Guilford College officials say an attacker knocked Martin
unconscious, then wrote the words “nigger lover” across her chest. The
attack happened a few days after fliers appeared around campus urging
people not to reelect Martin, who is White, unless they wanted an
“all-Black senate.” Martin won her campaign late last month.

In explaining his change of attitude, Alston said he did not
realize how much the college had done in the wake of the attack. That
included a forum attended by 500 people and several smaller meetings of
faculty and students. Alston said he came to understand and respect the
college’s Quaker approach, which emphasizes introspection and
deliberation.

McNemar also announced more steps the college will take to address
race relations, including a twenty-four-hour hotline to report racial
incidents and diversity training for faculty and staff. He said that
the college is also speeding up plans to create an institute for race
relations and diversity.

COPYRIGHT 1998 Cox, Matthews & Associates



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